Sat 09 Apr 2016 | By:

What, Why, and How to Register a Florida DBA

Why and How to File a DBA

“Doing Business As,” or a DBA, is a legal procedure that small business owners should know about.  As your start your business, you need to know more about the DBA, as it can provide you with numerous advantages.

A DBA, depending on why it’s filed, can play a significant role in your business. It can be a temporary solution, a marketing strategy, or be proof of your sincerity as a business.

While not all entrepreneurs find the DBA to be significant, it’s still important to be  informed regarding this term as a Florida business owner. You may never know when you may need it, so educate yourself early and often on this common business practice.

Starting a business can be frustrating.  It is a lot to take in at one time!  To help you become more informed, this article will provide you with the what, why, and how regarding the Florida DBA.  We’ll keep it simple!

What is a Florida DBA?

A Florida DBA is a document filed within the state to be able to legally use a fictitious, alternative, or assumed business name other than the one you’re currently using.

This can be filed in different situations.  For some, it may be a temporary solution for entrepreneurs who want to start a business but are trying to save costs. For other entrepreneurs, the DBA may be used when starting a new business, or branching out from their main business.

Regardless of the reason why you’re filing a Florida DBA, it’s imperative that you understand the legal process. Once you file this document and complete it, your business name and personal name will be circulated in all official publications within your community.

Why File a Florida DBA?

1) You don’t want to use your personal name as a business name.

For business owners who are running their business under sole proprietorship, it is automatically understood that their business will carry their personal name. While this is an advantage for some, other entrepreneurs feel like this is an invasion of their privacy that places them in an uncomfortable situation.

If you don’t want to use your personal name as your business name, you may file a DBA in Florida. Name your business differently by filing a DBA.

2) Your client requires a DBA.

You have finally come to a business agreement with a client, however, he refuses to give you a working contract until you present a Florida DBA.  Before you become frustrated, understand that this is a normal practice, especially if you are a freelancer or an unincorporated company.

Having a DBA will assure your client that you will honor the terms and conditions of your working contract with them.

3) You’re starting a new business.

One of the primary reasons why entrepreneurs file for a DBA is because they’re planning to start an entirely new business. Once your small business succeeds, you may think of expanding and building new and fresh startups.

Whether you incorporate or not, there will always be a need to file a DBA in this situation.  Since you can’t name two businesses with the same name, filing a DBA is your best option.

4) You’re launching a new website.

You’re currently operating an e-commerce website that sells women’s apparel and know that men rarely visit your site unless they are buying a gift.  You decide to launch a new website that offers the same services, however, catering to a totally different market – men.  Since you must name this site using a different name, you must file a DBA.

5) Your bank needs a DBA.

There are some banks who require a DBA before your application to open a business bank account is approved. This is especially true for businesses under general partnership and sole proprietorship. It is best practice to prepare ahead of time before visiting your chosen bank.


How to File a Florida DBA

Filing a DBA in Florida is fairly easy, just follow this 3-step guide.

Step 1) Download the DBA Registration Form

The first step when completing your DBA is to download and print the Florida DBA registration form. Since you’re doing business in Florida, file your DBA in the county where you intend to conduct business.

Step 2) Fill-out the Registration Form

The next step is to fill-out the Florida DBA form correctly. It’s best to review the form first and see what information is needed so you have everything at hand.

The form itself includes instructions and the address where you can mail it.  You may also submit online.  Be prepared to answer the following information:

Once you complete the form, double check for errors. Don’t forget to have it notarized by an attorney before mailing it in.

Step 3) Mail your filled-out DBA Form promptly

The last and final step to filing a Florida DBA is to send the completed form on the address specified on the document.

Again, scan the form and check for errors and inconsistencies. After you’ve mailed it, all you have to do is simply wait for a confirmation and that’s basically it. You can use a DBA name for your business. The filing fee is an affordable $50.

Should You File a DBA in Florida?

As the founder of your small business, you need to determine if you need a DBA or not.  Frequently, entrepreneurs start to file DBA’s when they expand their businesses.

Not only is a DBA an economical way to start a new business, it can also boost your startup, as you have the freedom to name your business whatever you want.

However, consider that every process contains risks and disadvantages. While DBA’s are generally helpful, they cannot protect you and your business 100% if problems were to arise.

Unlike a fully incorporated business, a DBA is like a temporary pass that will allow you to carry a business name without forming a corporation, an LLC or other business structure.  Therefore, you will not have trademark to your chosen DBA name, making it free for others to use.

As an informed consumer, you need to determine if a DBA is right for your business. At the end of the day, it’s your call.  Whatever decision you make, I’m sure that it’s for the good of your business. Good luck my friend!

This article is an informational guide and as such should only be used as a reference when filing a Florida DBA, and it should not be used as legal advice. Your lawyer is still the best person to talk to if you want more details on the legalities of filing a ‘Doing Business As’ in Florida or bringing a business idea to life in general.

About Ryan James

Half hardworking hermit, half avid adventurer, Ryan founded Startup Savant to simplify entrepreneurship and pay it forward by donating a portion of all revenue to support children's education via